If you’re proud of yourself for filling up Friday at $3.19 a gallon, don’t get too boastful. You could have done better.
At least four stations in South Sound, one in Tacoma, one in Sumner, one in Olympia and the other in Kent, were selling unleaded regular gasoline for less than $3 a gallon Friday.
All four of the stations, owned by Tacoma-based petroleum distributor Associated Petroleum Products, were pricing a gallon at $2.99. The $2.99 price at the pump might be a harbinger of much lower gasoline prices across the board in the Northwest and in the nation.
The four stations are at 3224 South Tacoma Way in Tacoma, at 3819 142nd Ave. E. in Sumner, at 1306 Fones Road SE in Olympia and at 20241 84th Ave. S. in Kent.
That bargain price is 51 cents less than the average price for a gallon in the Tacoma area. That $3.50-a-gallon average nonetheless is a fairly steep drop from the average price just a week ago, when the average was 10 cents a gallon higher, and a month ago when the average was more than $3.80 a gallon.
If this year follows the normal gasoline price pattern, prices will continue falling until just before Christmas. The highest prices of the year typically occur around Memorial Day in late May.
In Federal Way, the lowest price is $3.15 a gallon at Costco. In Mason County, which has one of the lowest average gasoline prices in the state, the price leader was a Shelton Texaco station selling regular for $3.06 a gallon.
Petroleum price analysts say the steep decline in gasoline prices is being driven by a higher worldwide crude oil supply from wells in Libya and North Dakota coupled with the normal cooler weather drop in vacation driving.
While South Sound can brag about having at least some outlets selling fuel at less than $3 a gallon, whole states are seeing average prices dip below the $3 mark. In Missouri, for instance, reports GasBuddy.com, the average price of a gallon of regular is $2.96 a gallon, the lowest in the country.
Washington’s average of $3.56 a gallon is the fourth highest in the country. Hawaii occupies its usual position at the top of the gasoline price chart with an average price of $4.17 a gallon.